Taiwanese classes at Cultural University

I tried to find the thread where somebody mentioned the lunch time Taiwanese classes at Cultural University (corner of Heping East Road and Jianguo Road) but got no results.

I just dropped by and got some info:
New classes, beginner and intermediate level, will start after CNY on Feb 24. Classes take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12.10 to 13.00 and run for two months (24 classes). Costs: 3000 NT

Phone number: 27005858 ext. 135
Email: ycwu@cec.pccu.edu.tw

They also offer Chinese Grammar and Practical Chinese Business Conversation classes.

I’m thinking about signing up for the beginner classes. Has anybody taken these before? What level of Mandarin Chinese do you need to be able to understand what the teacher is saying?


There is a thread on learning Taiwanese


Thanks, wix99, I had seen that thread and meant to read it more closely later.

I remember that somebody posted the hint with the lunchtime Taiwanese classes at Cultural University (that’s were I got the idea) and wanted to check that post on whether or not the poster had actually attended classes there. However, I can’t find that thread anymore.

I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll sit through the course. I don’t live with the illusion that I’ll ever be able to speak Taiwanese (I guess I should work HARD on my Mandarin first). I just figure it might be nice to catch a word once in a while.


I posted about these classes a while back. I have taken the first and second courses. That gets you about two thirds of the way through the textbook (生活台語). In the second term, the teacher introduced a lot of outside material, but still tried to get through as many lessons as possible. The result was that there was just too much to absorb and not enough time to practice speaking.

The classes are taught entirely in Mandarin and the textbook is in Chinese. The dialogues are written in Church Romanization and Chinese characters, so If you don’t know enough characters, but can understand basic classroom instructions in Chinese, you will be OK. The teachers can not speak English (to the best of my knowledge).

The students are intermediate and advanced Mandarin students, along with interested people who are living and working around Taipei. The overwhelming majority of students are from Asian countries, mostly Japan. This is an elective class for everybody, and the students are all busy with work and school, so the pace is slow and it’s no big deal if you miss a class occasionally. You will learn a lot and get a good foundation to build on, but don’t expect the same progress that you can get in the better Mandarin schools.

In my experience, the classes are fun and well worth the money. You will be surprised how quickly you start to understand Taiwanese (at a very basic level). If your job depended on your learning Taiwanese well and quickly, I would recommend private classes from one of their teachers or (probably even better) going to Mary Knoll for intensive study.

Taiwanese is harder than Mandarin, but really interesting with its systematic tone changes. Also, even the most rudimentary Taiwanese coming from you will shock your Chinese friends and get you a lot of points.

Have fun!

Thanks, Archinasia. I tried to find your original post but couldn’t dig it up. It sure sounds interesting and isn’t too far from my office, so I’ll probably sign up for the first course, anyway.

Thanks a lot, I wouldn’t have known about it without your post!


Iris, when does the course start? I might come too. Archinasia, you said it was fine to miss a class or two. If I could only make 2 out of the 3 classes a week, do you think I’d keep up? Wortha shot?


Hi Brian

The classes will start on Feb. 24, at 12.10, exactly one week after I come back from Germany.

Would be great to see you there :slight_smile:



I think it will be a challenge, but you can probably still keep up fairly well. It is worth a shot at least. If you have a lot of time to put in between classes, you won’t have any problem keeping up at all.

I’m also in. They cancel the class I applied last time at cultural univ. Hope this time they have a class for real.


A lady from the university called me yesterday: they are obviously postponing the classes for a week to get more people to subscribe. I promised to go there during my lunch break and sign up.

Anton, Bri: are you still in? Will you be okay with starting and ending a week later? Maybe you should call them up and tell them that you want to participate.


I have emailed her three weeks ago.
She replied saying that she will let me know if a class is open or if the number of students is sufficient to open a class.

I’m still waiting for her info…

Yeah… may be I give her another call…


I am a native Taiwanese, and I come from Chiayi County. I now live in Taipei Hsien. I have spoken to my parents in Taiwanese all my life, so that is my mother language. I am sure my Taiwanese is much better than people in my age group - born in 1976.

I would like to teach you Taiwanese and improve my English. Though I have no experience in teaching, I could still correct your pronunciation if need be. The fastest way to learn is to get close to native Taiwanese, as it does take time to improve.

Perhaps I could help you to review or preview with the classes held in Cultural University. It is suspicious the teacher there could speak English to expedite your learning? I could speak some then!!
Nowadays, we can see most youngsters do not speak much Taiwanese, just a few words here and there. So I am wondering why you guys like to learn it even though the locals are poor at it.

I do understand it is important we Taiwanese should maintain our mother languages, but why do you like to learn it?? What is the purpose of learning it? It does take long time to know all that stuff!!


now you, a taiwanese are discouraging us to take taiyu course.
yeah what the purpose anyway?

For me, I feel that I need to learn it to get to the core of taiwanese culture. the so-called inner sanctum. A lot of new things I can learn when I bag taiwanese in my collection of multilingual tongue.


I signed up a couple of days ago. They are now hoping to start 3/3. She said they just need one or two more people, so if you’re interested, but haven’t signed up yet, go and enrol so that we can get started. I’m looking forward to it.


Jen: Thanks for the offer. I think I’ll sit through the course first to get some sort of basis. Besides, I’m not sure I’d be a good English teacher, my English probably isn’t much better than yours, and I’m a horrible teacher anyway. But if a question or something I don’t understand pops up, I’ll be glad to ask you about it.

My reasons for learning Taiwanese? As I wrote earlier, I don’t really expect myself to become a fluent Taiwanese speaker. However, I feel that I hear a lot of Taiwanese on the street, and I think it would be nice to grab the meaning once in a while. I know myself, I lack the discipline for self-study, so joining a class isn’t the worst idea for me. Besides, I thought it might be a good opportunity to see some new faces. However, as it turns out, it might actually become more of a private Segue meeting with Ax and Bri joining me :?

Bri: so you were no. 3? I enrolled today and was told I was no. 4.

Ax: hurry up! :wink:

See you there


Why do I want to learn Taiwanese? This is Taiwan for Christ’s sake. Taiwan - Taiwanese. I see a pattern. It’s just a shame I took so bloody long getting around to it. And I do hope to get fluent (although it might take a few years).


Now we’ve been having the taiwanese class for almost two months. comprehension has improved a lot and also new vocabulary keeps pumping in.
Thanks to the teacher we now are able to speak more than just gaozha!


Yeah, it’s quite fun. If you were thinking about doing this course, you’d have to also be able to read a little Chinese. The vocabulary only has Chienese definitions, no English.


For all those who might be interested: the next beginner class will start on May 19. The next intermediate level class will start a week from Monday on May 12. If you want to join Ax, Sir Donald and myself for the intermediate course, sign up quickly! If you manage to do it before Monday, you’ll get a discount of 150 NT$, i believe :wink:


Here is my personal and unscientific review of the class after the basic and intermediate course. Mind you, I do this for fun, not because there is a need for me to do it or because I feel the drive to become a near-fluent speaker of Taiwanese (I won’t even be here long enough to reach that stage for Guoyu let alone Taiwanese :blush: ).

I think I’ve learned quite a lot. Listening to a Taiwanese radio feature the other day, I could make out a couple of words in every sentence (words, not syllables). However, I don’t think I’ve ever managed (dared) to utter a word in Taiwanese to anybody else but class mates and teacher. Part of this is certainly due to the fact that, after the first couple of weeks, I’ve never again done any review of vocabulary, grammar etc. after class :blush: :blush: Also due to that is the fact that it took me about two months to really feel that I was actually learning something. Now, slowly, I feel that I’m actually able to remember simple every-day sentences (which up to now, I’ve never used and probably might have forgotten by the time I come back from Germany :blush: ). I’m sure that diligent students can pick up much more than I did and would be able to have simple conversations in Taiwanese by now, not only using the vocabulary in the book but also the related stuff the teacher mentioned during class. Which isn’t bad for 16 weeks resp. 48 lessons (at least, I feel so).

The class, held completely in Chinese/Guoyu/Mandarin apart from some English terms the teacher might throw in for explanation, certainly did my Guoyu some good. We often enough ended up discussing, in a mix of Guoyu and Taiwanese, cultural and geographical differences, from the kind of fruit that grow in Germany, Indonesia etc. to customs and manners. Besides, I hadn’t read that much Chinese in a while. It definitely helped with getting more accustomed to Traditional characters. And as much as I only read the romanization of the Taiwanese in the text book in the beginning, I’m getting to the stage where just reading romanization confuses me, and I prefer to see the characters they use for Taiwanese as well. No need for me to discuss the way of romanization or the characters they use for Taiwanese in the text book here, this is just my personal impression.

The teacher tries to accustom Western students. But nonetheless, most of the class is very “Chinese”: reading aloud, repeating … I guess we made it hard for him, too: whenever he asked us to do “free talk”, most of us would just shut up and wait for Ax to say something. :blush: Most of the students were Asians, wives of Taiwanese husbands, people who want to do business here … The group was rather small: about six for the first course, and then just us three Forumosans for the second one. Of course, the small size of the class is a definite advantage.

I skipped out a few times when I was too busy to spend my lunch time walking to class. But that never was a big disadvantage. As long as I managed to be there at least every second time, I’d always be able to pick up what I had missed.

All in all, I liked the class, and I definitely want to go on when I come back from my summer vacation. I never was a big self- studyer :blush: , I definitely prefer the strict schedule of an organized class. We’re now halfway through the book, so we still have some material to work on.

For anybody who’s interested: next beginner classes start on July 14.